Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Saturday clarified news reports that US President-elect Donald Trump invited President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House.
"According to the transcript po, wala pong specific na sinabi na inimbita ang Presidente," Abella said in an interview on state-run dzRB.
According to Abella, the President said that if he happens to be in New York or Washington DC, he should notify Trump.
"Based on the transcript, ang sinabi po actually ... ni President Donald Trump na kung mangyari man na naandun siya sa New York o sa Washington ay dapat ... na mapaalam kay Donald Trump," the Palace official said.
But in the "transcript" of the supposed Duterte-Trump conversation sent to media by the Presidential Communications Office, Duterte was quoted as saying, "And he has invited me to visit New York and Washington DC, he [Trump] said that if I'm around, he wants to be notified of my presence and maybe..."
Abella's clarification came after Duterte's special advisor Christopher "Bong" Go said on Friday that the incoming US President has invited the country's chief executive to the White House next year.
Go did not give details as to what particular event in the US Trump invited Duterte to join.
However, Abella noted that during an American president's inauguration, heads of states are not usually invited.
"Hindi po kasi tradition na nag-iimbita ng heads of state para sa ano eh, para sa inauguration. Kadalasan, ano lang po, that’s really an American event. Wala po, traditionally, hindi po talaga nag-iimbita," he explained.
"But ang sinabi lang, na kung mangyari at naandoon siya sa Washington at New York, ay ipaalam lang sa kanya, ipaalam kay President Trump. ‘Yun po," he added.
The Palace official also confirmed that Duterte invited Trump to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit to be hosted by the Philippines next year. —John Ted Cordero/LBG, GMA News